New INN Staff Added: Director of Finance and Business Reporter join the team

INN is growing to provide new services to members and to advance our field! Our first addition, Melodie Iwai, is our new Director of Finance. As you may know, INN is the fiscal sponsor for some of our members who are waiting to hear about their own 501(c)3 designation. Melodie's addition will allow us to bring the highest standards to this important service, and she will also help with popular programs such as our insurance subsidy program, which helps INN members protect their news organization against legal threats.

melodieMelodie brings over 11 years of nonprofit accounting and business management experience. Before joining INN, she served as Accounting Manager for the Child Care Resource Center, a leading community organization that assists parents, child care professionals, employers, and local communities in all matters related to early care and education with a $100 million operating budget. She also worked with Child & Family Center, which is a mental health nonprofit supporting the Santa Clarita Valley, for seven years. Melodie holds a B.S. in Business Administration, an MBA and a MSA (Masters of Science in Accountancy) from the University of Phoenix.

The Knight Foundation, as part of its burgeoning interest in growing the nonprofit news movement, helped INN launch the INNovation Fund, which provides microgrants to nonprofit news organizations who want to experiment with activities that could provide new and sustainable lines of revenue to support their work. While everyone loves a grant, both Knight and INN want the impact of this program to extend beyond the individual organizations that win a grant. That's the thinking behind an innovative feature of this grant program: we will be covering these experiments in an effort to help the knowledge of what works and what doesn't in our field be shared as widely as possible. To that end, INN has brought on Luis Gomez, an experienced journalist who will be taking an in-depth look at sustainability in nonprofit journalism.

unnamedLuis Gomez is the editor and business reporter for INN where he is responsible for documenting the experimentation and results of INNovation Fund grantees. As an editor, he is also responsible for aggregating and publishing reports on the works of other nonprofit and independent journalism organizations. You can read the some of the documentation in the INNovation Fund page, which will be public soon.

Luis joined INN in April 2014 after working in print and digital media for the past 10 years. Luis has worked as a reporter for a variety of daily newspapers, including the Naples Daily News, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Santa Maria Times and the Imperial Valley Press. Most recently, Luis worked as a digital producer for Southern California Public Radio, Yahoo and He also teaches digital media for Mediabistro and Cal State University, Fullerton.

Luis is a graduate from Cal Poly Pomona where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in journalism.